OFW party list wants internal investigation into balikbayan box delivery scam

Billy Begas

A party-list lawmaker has tabled a resolution calling for a congressional investigation into the scheme or scam used by unscrupulous international freight forwarders and their counterparts who victimize Filipinos overseas in the shipping and delivery of boxes balikbayan.

OFW Party List Rep. Marissa Magsino filed House Resolution 499 as part of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) warning against a modus operandi in sending and processing balikbayan boxes.

BOC said some overseas international freight forwarders charge low-rate handling fees and promise to deliver the balikbayan boxes to end recipients in the Philippines. However, their local unconsolidator or freight forwarder partners in the Philippines receive no funds to process and release the packages from the BOC, resulting in balikbayan boxes not being delivered.

“These pernicious practices literally deprive our OFWs and Overseas Filipinos of their hard-earned money, deprive their loved ones and loved ones, who are the intended recipients of the benefit of enjoying the use and consumption of the goods that sent to them, jeopardize the stability of the freight transport industry and public confidence in the system,” the resolution reads.

Magsino said the investigation will determine whether remedial legislation is needed to prevent and deter such illegal activity.

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